“The Art of War” through Customer Loyalty

Loyalty programs come in many forms, tiers and degrees of effectiveness, as competing brands battle it out to retain customers and capture a larger piece of their discretionary spend. To complicate matters, the competitive landscape between companies is evolving like never before due to readily available product and service reviews, mobile advertising, and social media influence.

With Cisco and other technology leaders predicting more than four-fold growth in global Internet traffic between 2010-2015 and mobile devices emerging as the primary means to “connect,” it is imperative that marketing departments incorporate real-time operationalized feedback programs if they are to stay abreast of dissatisfaction drivers and retain customers. For many companies, this is a paradigm shift from lagging survey research of a certain moment to actionable feedback at the Decisive Moment™.

A 2011 Haas School of Business faculty paper titled Customer Loyalty Programs: Best Practices suggests a positive customer experience as one key characteristic of good loyalty programs; furthermore, a “materially” different experience should be delivered to top-tier program members. Assuming only a small percentage receive the privilege of a “materially” different experience through elite loyalty programs, loyalty within the customer majority depends heavily on exceptional service at each touch point, rapid issue resolution, and positive influence through indirect channels, such as social media and distribution partners.

McKinsey & Co., a leader at helping businesses solve strategic challenges, has found several leading companies needing a renewed interest in customer retention and consistent customer experience between touch points…should they wish to maintain year-over-year profitable growth. McKinsey’s Organizational Health Index tracks organizational elements that drive financial performance, including customer experience. By capturing and interpreting quality feedback from the customer majority (through census polling) at the Decisive Moment, companies can implement measures for continuous improvement in areas affecting loyalty – from frontline employee engagement and brand impact between touch points to improvements in operational and sales performance and negative sentiment reduction across social media sites. 

It is no surprise that improvement in loyalty cannot be accomplished without action, hence the importance of a partner like NICE whose enterprise-wide expertise, process, and multi-channel technology assist companies seeking significant reduction in customer churn, gains in satisfaction, brand promoter growth, improvement in cross-sell rates, and more. For example, analysis of customer verbatim feedback and instant routing of alerts helped a major shipping company identify a competitive gap in packaging options, generate new sales revenue, and rescue dissatisfied customers before defecting. Following resolution of this issue and others over time, the resurvey process revealed an increase in “likelihood to recommend” and better overall brand experience between touch points. 

Understanding and taking action against the drivers of dissatisfaction not only leads to game-changing results now; the integration of real-time operationalized feedback with CRM systems helps sales management to predict subsequent behavior in the customer journey, target for promotional events and capture more discretionary spend.

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